Building confidence to work

If you have a visible difference you might be worried about work or your ability to get a job. You might have attended interviews and been unsuccessful. This can be for lots of reasons, it may not be anything to do with your appearance, but, you might worry that it is due to your visible difference and it can affect your confidence. You might have had time off work because of physical or mental health reasons and be anxious about going back to work. You might feel that your confidence is low and you are worried about going into a new job or getting a job.

If your confidence is low and you are finding it difficult to think about work positively, there are some steps you can take which might help to increase your confidence, whilst gaining useful skills or improve your confidence in existing skills.


Volunteering is a great way of building confidence. Often when volunteering you can choose how much time to commit and when, so this can fit around other commitments. Volunteering provides an opportunity to learn new skills and is a really helpful way of building up a routine, plus is a chance to meet new people. You can look for volunteering opportunities with charities or with volunteering organisations online. You might have a specific job in mind, but feel you need more experience to help with applications – try and contact local companies or places to see if they would consider taking on a volunteer.

Adult learning courses

Do you want to learn new skills or brush up existing skills? There are lots of courses delivered either at local colleges, or online that you could consider. As well as developing skills attending a course can help you to interact with like-minded people, which can also help to build your confidence. Check out courses locally that might be of interest. Some courses may offer discounts if you are on certain benefits or not currently working. There may be courses at the local job centre. This can feel daunting but it can be a great way of developing skills for free! And it all looks great on a CV and shows you have taken some initiative

Start a hobby

You might be wondering how hobbies can help you find a job? Well – having a hobby or interest, something which you actively do can be great for building confidence, whether this is an evening painting class or a local book club. Hobbies can be a great way of meeting new people with similar interests, and this in turn can increase your confidence and help you feel more comfortable in different environments – all essential skills in the job market.

Develop a routine

Starting a new job can be daunting, and if you haven’t been used to being in a routine of getting up and being out of the house all day, this can add additional stress. Start your morning routine as if you would if you were going to work, and set an appropriate time for bed. Try and keep this routine going, and it will help when you find a job to have one less thing to worry about (e.g. oversleeping!).


So this one might sound strange – how can socialising help me get a job? If you have been feeling low, it might be that you haven’t been seeing friends or going out much. You might have had surgery and had to spend long periods of time in the hospital or at home. It can then feel like a challenge to even go to the shops! If this is the case, gradually start to increase the time you spend out of the house. Maybe go for a coffee with a friend, or take a walk with your child to the local shops, or even start by walking the dog in the park. If you do something each day you will become more used to being out.

Gradually increase your activity

If you are recovering from surgery but you are hoping to find a job, think about when is a good time to start gradually increasing your activity. If your long-term goal is to get a job, think about the short term and medium-term goals you need to achieve to make this happen. In the short term, doing small jobs around the house might be your goal, gradually building up to going for a walk and then meeting friends. You might then decide to try an evening course or volunteering. When you feel more confident you might then decide to apply for jobs. Take things at your own pace and always follow medical advice.

Talk to other people with a visible difference

It might be helpful to link with other people who have a visible difference to talk about ways they managed applying for jobs and finding work. It can be helpful to talk about some of your worries with someone who has experienced the same concerns.

Update your CV

You can find lots of example CV’s online or you might want to get some advice in person. The job centre, charities and sometimes colleges offer CV writing courses, which include hints and tips on how to write the best CV to  best show your skills. Or ask a friend or family member who you know has more experience to help you. Writing a CV can take a lot of time, so having this ready can feel like one less thing to do – and when you see a job you feel able to apply for, you are fully prepared. It also helps to familiarise yourself with all your skills and achievements, which also builds confidence.

Talk to recruitment companies

You might want to talk to someone about your job prospects and how to apply for jobs. Recruitment companies can help you to tailor your CV, practice interview techniques and find the right jobs for your skill set. Make sure you find a reputable company and its helpful if they have the ‘two ticks’. Whether you have a disability or not, it is good practice for recruitment companies to have this. The ‘two ticks’ is a disability scheme given to companies who are committed to the employment, training, retention and career development of any disabled employees.

Applying for jobs


Going to a job interview


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